Why Elton John Described His Relationship With John Lennon As A 'Whirlwind Romance'

One of the musicians that John Lennon inspired was Reginald Kenneth Dwight, better known as Elton John. In the mid-1970s, the two became especially close friends, though their friendship didn't last very long. Per Smooth Radio, this short-lived natured prompted Elton to describe it in an interview with Lennon's son, musician Sean Ono Lennon, as like a "whirlwind romance."

"It was just, for me, it was a dream come true," Elton told Lennon in a 2020 interview that aired as part of BBC Radio 2's "John Lennon at 80" documentary special (via Far Out). "We laughed so much because we talked about the 50s and 60s and where we grew up, you know, Round the Horne in England, the radio shows we liked, the songs we liked, we didn't like, and your dad was just a fountain of knowledge. It was a hand-in-glove thing, and I never thought that would ever happen."

John Lennon and Elton John became fast friends

According to Smooth Radio, Elton John has had well-documented contentious relationships with other famous musicians like Freddie Mercury and Rod Stewart, while Far Out notes a falling out between the "Rocket Man" singer and David Bowie. However, in his interview with Sean Lennon, he spoke highly of his interactions with all of the Beatles. "I was a little bit, obviously I was in awe I was meeting any of the Beatles, and they all treated me so brilliantly," Elton told the younger Lennon. "But your dad had that edge that none of the other Beatles had kind of because he wasn't afraid to say what he thought."

The musicians met in the 1970s, several years after Lennon and the rest of the Beatles — Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr — had parted ways. Additionally, Lennon had gone through a breakup in his personal life around the time he met Elton John, as he was in the midst of a separation with his long-time muse, Japanese artist Yoko Ono. The two were also around the same age and had similar upbringings, which served as a stable foundation for their friendship. Still, the Beatles had been a part of Elton John's musical upbringing, and he recalled riding his bike several miles to purchase a copy of the Beatles' iconic album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" just a few years before he and the ex-Beatle became friends.

John Lennon and Elton John worked and performed together

John Lennon asked Elton John to help him out in the studio with his song "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night." Elton John loaned his vocal chops to some of the song's harmonies and also played piano on the track. At the time, Lennon's post-Beatles was receiving critical acclaim, but according to Far Out, glowing reviews from critics didn't necessarily translate into runaway commercial or chart success. This led to a friendly wager between the two, who were quickly becoming close friends.

Lennon had also been dealing with anxiety about performing in front of live audiences. Elton made a bet with him that if "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" went to No. 1 on the charts, Lennon would have to join the Rocket Man himself on stage to perform the song. Sure enough, after "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" was released as a single from Lennon's album "Walls and Bridges," the song made it to the top spot, and Lennon had to face his fears and join Elton on stage at — of all places — the most famous arena in the world, New York CIty's Madison Square Garden. They performed the song on ​​November 28, 1974, which turned out to be Lennon's final public performance before his death in 1980.

The two eventually drifted apart

The reason Elton John described his friendship with the late Beatle as a "whirlwind romance" was because for a time, the two were virtually inseparable, but they eventually drifted apart. Not that there was any real drama between the two — it seems that life simply got in the way. According to Smooth Radio, Lennon got back together with Yoko Ono, and they had a son together, Sean Lennon. Lennon spent more time with his family, but that isn't to say he completely forgot Elton John, as he asked the star to be his son's godfather.

In his 2020 interview with Sean Lennon, Elton still had fond memories of that part of his life. "That was the kind of wonderful two or three-year whirlwind romance we had, and it was such an important thing in my life, Sean," the singer told his godson (via Far Out). "It just really helped me. It gave me so much confidence. Your dad was as kind and as generous and sweet, and we just hit it off immediately."

"There was no attitude," he later said. "I hate posers, and I hate attitude, and your dad didn't have any of it."